Rectal Discharge

Question:

I am three weeks post surgery. My ostomy is to be reversed in three months. I was told to expect some rectal discharge and did have some. However yesterday I experienced some uncontrollable brown discharge. Is this normal and will it subside?

Response:

People who have an ostomy and have an intact rectum and anus often experience a discharge of mucus from their rectum. The mucus is a liquid produced by the lining of the bowel that acts as a lubricant helping the passage of stools.

The lining of the bowel continues to produce mucus even though it no long serves any purpose. The  mucus can vary from a clear “egg white” to a sticky, glue-like consistently. The colours of the mucus can vary from clear, beige, to medium brown colour. In the early weeks post-op, the mucus can appear brown, this is a mixing with stale blood left behind in the rectum from the operation. If the colour should turn jet black, bright red, green or yellowish in colour and smells, contact your surgeon immediately, as this may be a sign of infection or tissue damage that needs to be treated. How often you pass mucus is dependent on your personal body’s rate of mucus production. It can be as frequent as daily, weekly, or monthly.

If you continue to worry about anything related to your ostomy, contact your surgeon, or book a consultation an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse, (E.T. Nurse), a consultation can help you immensely, with regard to, practical information, emotional support, and a wealth of knowledge for your understandings.

(E.T.) Nurses, are the “go to” professionals for ostomates. An E.T. Nurse is a registered nurse with advanced specialized knowledge and clinical skills in wound, ostomy, and continence care. E.T. Nurses work closely with ostomates and have the experience to assist them. To find an E.T. Nurse in or near your location; go to the Ostomycanada.ca website. You will find the menu at the top bar, click on “Support”, there you will then see a drop down menu, find and click on “Find an E.T. Nurse”, follow the instructions on that page.

You may also benefit from attending an Ostomy Support Group, there are Support Groups in many communities, where you can discuss your situation with other ostomates, and this can be very helpful.

To find a Support group near your location; go to the Ostomycanada.ca website. You will find the menu at the top bar, click on “Support”, there you will then see a drop down menu, find and click on, “Find your Local Support Group”, follow the instructions on that page.

Wishing you the best.